Friday, October 22, 2010

A Cautionary (Knitting) Tale

I seem to be doing a rather fantastic job lately of messing things up. At some point around a year ago, I went to the yarn shop on a Thursday night and bought two lovely skeins of ShiBui Sock. I started knitting some socks with it, and remembered writing myself some notes on gauge and needle size in the book. I finished the first sock, let the knitting drop...and when I went back to knit the second, I couldn't remember the name of the pattern, the book it was in, or if I had even used a pattern. (This is why you should always start a Ravelry project page for your new projects!)

A few months later, I found my Favorite Socks book (in my knitting bag, ugh) and guess what? It was right there, covered with some sort of half-intelligible sticky notes with a few directions to myself I started the second. Finished the second. And this lovely pair of socks...

Diagonal Rib Socks

...don't match. Everything is the same except I didn't go down far enough in needle size for the second, so I got an ugly pool of blue instead of a nice stripey sock.


That's not an elephant modeling the socks, by the way. That's just a bad camera angle.

I should have realized when I was running out of yarn (the ball is from the first, smaller sock, and the few little pieces are from the second, pooly, bigger sock).


These are the Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks from Favorite Socks. Please, if you make them, use the pattern journal (or make two at a time).


Fee says meh. She thinks they are fine. I agree. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Cat-Powered Rocket Ships

I think I have neglected knitting and this blog for so long I probably don't have any readers left. But if this post should pop up in your RSS feed and you stop by...welcome. I don't know what happened, or why I took such a long break, or why I suddenly can't stop knitting. I am dreaming in wool lately, y'all. So here are a few things that happened.

In January, my cat Grady had a serious problem with breathing, which led to an echocardiogram, which confirmed a diagnosis of advanced hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. (That's a common heart disease in cats...think of it as thickening of the heart muscle. It's progressive and there's no cure.) He seemed to do very well on medicine, just a little slower. In July, he stopped eating and things got a lot worse. (By worse I mean, no matter how much I tempted him with all his favorite food and treats, I still mostly had to shove food down his throat and hope he'd get better.) He lost 5 pounds. On September 30, I took him to the animal hospital to be boarded for a few days while I was in Michigan. He died in his sleep while I was away. While not totally unexpected, it was a bit of a surprise. He'd been outside to walk around with me every day for the last week or two and easily gone a hundred yards at one go. He seemed interested in life, and happy. The vet said his heart just stopped. He found him sitting with his nose touching the ground, his head tipped forward like he was resting.

Here is a picture of Grady as I remember him best.


Do you grieve the loss of a pet? Yes. You think you aren't going to, but then you see him everywhere. You accidentally call his name when you're looking for the other cat, the one who doesn't really know what happened and seems a little down herself. It's an odd feeling to know this little critter, who was cuddly and funny and mostly a big old grump, is just gone. He's not out there waiting for me to pick him up. He's just...not there.

I'm sure I've told enough crazy cat stories on this blog. My first knitting post in ages actually does have something to do with him, though. I decided to make these super-easy, totally awesome slippers back in August. I wasn't sure if I was going to like knitting again, so I went to JoAnn and spent as little as possible on some wool - some yarn by Debbie Stoller called Full O'Sheep. Turns out this stuff is a cat magnet.

All week long that week, I worked on those slippers. Whenever I set my knitting down, Grady got up from wherever he was and sat on it. Just those slippers - not the sock I had picked up again. I knitted the first big L and just let it sit so he could lay on it whenever he wanted. I ripped out the short side of the L and thought about making him a blanket, then decided to leave it since he liked it how it was. I was a little short of yarn, and decided not to finish them as long as he wanted to lay on them.

For two months, Grady sat on those almost-completed-but-not-felted slippers. When I dropped him off that day at the vet, I debated bringing them with me for him to lay on. Here is a very bad picture of Grady laying on the slippers.


Last weekend, I sewed the slippers up and felted them. I feel they have a sufficient amount of Grady fur in them to make them more than just a pair of slippers, but I won't go as far as to say I'd knit with cat hair. The slippers are so comfortable and thick, like a pair of felted socks. I absolutely love them. They look like little rocket ships (for future pairs I might choose more subdued colors). Yes, I could have done a better job sewing them. But they are just fine as they are.

Norwegian House Slippers

Norwegian House Slippers

Norwegian House Slippers

And that is the story of my Schmady Slippers.